What are the Benefits of Being a Pastry Chef?
Apr 8, 2015 | 8:00 am
The benefits of being a pastry chef are similar to those of other culinary chefs, with just a few exceptions. Experienced pastry chefs in the right location make a decent wage and have the ability to incorporate creativity and innovation in their daily work, which is a lot like other chefs. Similarly, once a pastry chef has received his or her training, there are several options as far as where he or she may work. Pastry chefs can work in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants, hotels, casinos, as caterers, and in their own bakeries.
Where the difference lies in regards to a pastry chef vs. a traditional culinary chef is in the type of food a pastry chef creates and the precision required to maintain high pastry standards. Traditional culinary chefs are focused solely on savory foods most of the time and think of dessert as simply an aggravating afterthought. Pastry chefs are the opposite. To an experienced pastry chef, dessert is the exclamation point on an amazing dining experience. One of the biggest benefits of being a pastry chef is the ability to create a dessert so tasty that a diner leaves the table feeling as if he or she just had the meal of a lifetime.
Creation, Innovation, and Taste
One of the most basic and fundamental skills a pastry chef must have is the ability to combine flavors to create innovative desserts that taste good. Pastry chefs are responsible for ending a meal the right way and a forgettable dessert is definitely not the way to go. For that reason, successful pastry chefs are passionate about developing unique desserts that challenge and please the taste buds of discerning diners.
Pastry Chefs do More than Just Bake Cakes
Being a pastry chef in today’s culinary world is about a lot more than just baking a cake or cooking a pie. Sophistication in flavors is the norm in the current culinary environment and that standard applies to pastry chefs as well. The benefit of these high standards for a pastry chef is that it forces a young chef to challenge his or her abilities and become the best possible chef he or she can be. Once that happens, a higher salary along with the respect of his or her peers naturally follows.
Of course, creating unique and tasty desserts is just one aspect of being a pastry chef. It doesn’t hurt that respected pastry chefs can earn a decent wage while doing something they love. However, most pastry chefs shouldn’t expect to earn a lot of money for the first half of their career. Generally, entry-level pastry chefs earn an average salary of $17,000 yearly while more experienced pastry chefs can earn from $30,000 to $50,000 depending on location and type of work environment.
Although it can be hard earning respect and a decent salary as a pastry chef in comparison to a career as a savory chef, it can also be more rewarding in the long run. Pastry chefs are special breeds and working with baked goods is a challenge in balancing precision with creativity. Where savory chefs are asked to be good at everything, they are rarely expected to be perfect at one specific thing.
This is where the difference lies in working with baked goods. Pastry chefs are expected to be perfect with measurements, timing, and ingredients while having the ability to create innovative desserts at the same time. Not every chef can successfully do that. Those who can should enjoy a long, satisfying career as a pastry chef.